Have you ever wondered how similar or different two countries are? The Country Similarity Index attempts to quantify how similar countries are to each other relative to other countries. The index is a statistically-based way to measure this. The index weights equally five major aspects of countries: their demographics, culture, politics, technology, and geography. In addition each aspect was roughly balanced evenly between quantity/percentage and quality/type. See this post for a full explanation: https://objectivelists.home.blog/2020/05/30/country-similarity-index/
Similar to Mediterranean countries
Many countries are similar to Portugal. The top 5 countries are all in the European Union and border the Mediterranean Sea. In addition, 4 of the top 5 are Catholic. Although Brazil speaks Portuguese, there are significant differences between them. Brazil has large swathes of sparsely populated rainforests, in contrast to the chaparral landscape of Portugal. Furthermore, Brazil has a high amount of racial diversity, unlike Portugal. It is also less developed and poorer.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Portugal
- Spain is Portugal’s only neighbor on the Iberian Peninsula. They share similar demographics and culture. Both countries have a similar climate. Furthermore, they both use a unique railroad gauge, not used anywhere else in Europe. One difference is that Portugal has a semi-presidential system of government, while Spain is a constitutional monarchy, however their laws are extremely similar.
- Italy is located across the Balearic Sea from Spain. Like Portugal, it grows and consumes a lot of wine. It also grows many olives. Although both countries have beautiful beaches, Italy has a higher coastline to area ratio.
- France and Portugal both have a semi-presidential system of government, since they both abolished their monarchies. Like Portugal and Italy, both countries grow and drink a lot of wine. However, Portugal eats less cheese. Since France is more northern, its climate is not as hot.
- Greece is the only country in the top 5 that is not Catholic. In addition, their language and writing system is quite different. However, there are some huge similarities as well. Their economic situations are worse than other EU members and they have high unemployment numbers. Portugal and Greece’s climates are similar and their predominant crop is olives. They both have similar laws and a unicameral legislature dominated by two parties.
- Croatia is yet another Catholic country that borders the Mediterranean on this list. One big difference is that it speaks a Slavic language. While Croatia is in the European Union, it has still not adopted the Euro. Both countries have extremely low birth rates and an aging population. Still, Croatians tend to be much taller.
- Poland, 7. Belgium, 8. Slovenia, 9. Luxembourg , 10. Slovakia
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Portugal
- Somalia is the least similar country to Portugal, since it is an anarchic, Muslim country that has poorly developed infrastructure. Its conservative policies contrast Portugal’s more liberal society.
- Yemen is located on the Arabian Peninsula, across the Gulf of Aden from Somalia. It is another conservative Muslim country that has poorly developed infrastructure.
- Sudan is located in the Sahara Desert, near Somalia and Yemen. It is another impoverished Muslim country. It recently lost some territory to the newly formed country of South Sudan. Its authoritarian government and lack of development make it quite different from Portugal.
- Papua New Guinea is one of the wettest countries in the world, in contrast to Portugal’s relatively dry Mediterranean climate. Although both countries are mostly Christian, Papua New Guinea has more Protestants and is more religious.
- Bangladesh is another Muslim country with underdeveloped infrastructure on this list. It is also one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Bangladesh is less mountainous and gets far more rainfall than Portugal.
- Eritrea, 7. Bhutan, 8. South Sudan, 9. Mauritania, 10. Afghanistan
Do you agree with the list?
Please leave any thoughts in the comments section.